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BMS slams NITI Aayog's 'anti-worker' disinvestment policy for Hotel Janpath

Workers' union finds govt plan to build offices acceptable

Archis Mohan  |  New Delhi 

Hotel Janpath
Trade union expressed hope that the 117 permanent employees of the hotel will not be retrenched but transferred to other ITDC properties.

After (SJM), yet another Sangh Parivar affiliate, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), has lashed out at the for "giving an anti-labour face" to the government with its "misguided" and "directionless" reforms.

In a resolution that Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) passed at its two-day annual meeting in Kanpur that concluded on Wednesday, it demanded that the Aayog be "thoroughly reorganised" and that it should "remove the entire anti-worker proposals and 'action plan document on Labour and Employment" from its website.

But the voice of these Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) outfits has seldom been feebler, including during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led Democratic Alliance governments from 1998 to 2004. In recent weeks, the government has ignored and SJM's concerns over disinvestment and Genetically Modified, or GM, seeds.

The BMS, which had vowed protests if the government decided to disinvest New Delhi's Janpath Hotel, is still coming to terms with Wednesday's union cabinet decision. Rakesh Bhanot, general secretary of All Workers Federation, which is affiliated to BMS, said consultations were going on about the future course of action.

The union leader, however, indicated that there might not be any protests since the hotel is not being sold to a private player but to be used as office space. Bhanot said this was one of the original proposals that the union had suggested to the government. He also expressed hope that the 117 permanent employees of the hotel will not be retrenched but transferred to other properties. However, the fate of the 235 contractual workers of the hotel is uncertain.

At its Kanpur meeting, the resolution stated that the is "an expensive exercise with its "lopsided intellectuals" and "is misguiding the government and the whole nation."

It termed NITI Aayog's policy initiatives "defective" and that the think tank is "committed to a powerful corporate lobby". It said the Aayog has proposed anti-worker labour law reforms and is "contemptuous" of agriculture sector.

The resolution stated that the Aayog is trying to erode the Supreme Court order on equal pay for equal work for contract labour based on the principle laid down in Rule 25 of the Contract Labour Rules. The resolution said that it was "ridiculous" that NITI Ayog declares that the "rule has been the cause of a lot of rigidity" and that it should be removed from the statute.

The said the Aayog is trying to bring a different class of workers in the name of "Fixed term Employment" outside the definition of "workers" in the Industrial Disputes Act. "It feels that only by snatching away the permanent status of workers can the industries grow, especially in sectors like garment industry. This is totally absurd," it said.

The also demanded to know the "logic" behind suggesting flexibility in labour laws in Coastal Employment Zones. The also opposed the suggestions to allow women to work in night shifts.

The resolution further stated that NITI Aayog's policy of strategic disinvestment is "nothing but a sinister design of closure and distress sale of wealth created by our visionary forerunners."

Earlier this month, had shot off a letter to the PM that criticised the for its policies that were anti-people and against the interests of the nation.